After resisting it for more than a year, we gave in and obeyed God's call to this ministry of visitation. We are privileged to worship God where He sends us each Sunday and this is where we try to provide a snapshot from a visitor's perspective.
Please leave a comment if you wish. If you'd like to contact us, Bob is at MarineForJesus@aol.com and Jan is at Jlynnchess@aol.com. Thank you!
worshiped at Impact Christian Church, 965 Thorn Run Road, Moon Township, PA
15108, 412.264.9392, www.impactchristian.com,
Steve Hammer, Lead Pastor.
– Romans 12:1 (NCV)
brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer
your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and
pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship.
were welcomed as we entered and then by a number of others as well. We were
then given a ticket for a free coffee and invited to bring it with us to
sanctuary is an arc with an ascending ceiling amplifying the focus, wood
paneling on the ceiling matching the rear chancel wall. There is a large wooden
cross to one side and the pews are comfortably padded.
stage was decorated with auto parts which will relate to the series, this first
being on worship. Today’s message related the tachometer to whether we as
Christians are operating in the red zone…do we give our all for Christ? God
doesn’t want meaningless ritual. He is looking for His followers to be
completely committed, like the Marines – full force with no excuses...all we
should be for an audience of One. Another good point – to carry your cross with
you in case you need to be nailed to it.
message developed well with supporting Scripture references and brought to good
conclusion. I noticed a number of members taking notes and paying close
was served silently with both elements on the tray.
some good mission activities, including building a home for a needy family, and
I enjoyed a conversation with a gracious woman at the welcome desk.
bright-colored signs caught my eye as I drove past this church on a recent
detour to work. There was plenty of choice parking available when we arrived,
but it filled quickly.
were greeted warmly by a number of people, some of whom engaged us in
conversation. As first-time guests we were given cards entitling us to a free
coffee in the café area and then invited to take our coffee with us into the
directional signage was helpful, and the rest room signs indicated that both had
changing tables…funny how I now look for these things. The ladies room was attractively
decorated, including a comfortable bench.
seems to be high on the list of priorities here: someone put some time into
creating a billboard detailing the various mission involvements and a number of
missions were pointed out in the bulletin.
We Do Is Driven By You!” was the first message in the series “Redline Worship.”
The title is a former Ford auto slogan but the “you” refers to Christ, and the
redline mentioned is the indicator on the tachometer that a vehicle engine is
running extremely fast. Once all these details were clear, the hubcaps on the
rear wall of the chancel made a lot more sense.
message was an encouragement to worship constantly, not just on Sunday, to
surrender completely to Christ, give Him our full attention all the time with
our whole hearts. The pastor spoke with passion, especially when he stated that
when he meets Christ he does not want to hear, “You did okay.” He wants to be
on fire and sold out for Christ, using his time here to bring glory to God. He
encouraged the congregation to “refuse to settle for a puny little relationship
not heard it put quite that way before, but he definitely had my attention. I
can’t help but ask myself if I’ve been settling for a puny little relationship.
Communion, my eye caught the phrase displayed on the screen: Please partake of
the emblems as they are passed.
prayer for this church: We
pray, Lord, that you will awaken the Christian spirit of this church, that they
will step out for You full force, no excuses. May they know the joy in serving
You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
worshiped at Northgate Church, 238 West View Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15229,
Jesse Boggs, Senior Pastor.
16:13 – When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his
disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
16:15 – “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of
heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will
say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in
your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them
plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
6:46-49 – “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will
show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into
practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the
foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could
not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and
does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground
without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed
and its destruction was complete.”
left early for church and got there just in time…men don’t ask directions.
were greeted at the door and given a visitor flyer, and when we requested
direction to the rest rooms we were led there. There did seem to be signage,
but nothing directional from the narthex.
have visited a church with the same architecture but I can’t remember where: high
pointed ceiling covered in knotty pine and triangular el’s on either side. I was
disappointed not to see a cross till the screen was raised at the end of the
service to reveal a large cross on the wall behind it. There were few seats
left when the service started. We were told the pastor was away so it seemed
unusual for a packed sanctuary.
number of different lay people offered prayers throughout the service and
seemed comfortable doing so.
message was delivered by a heart surgeon who provided a whole sheet of
Scripture references pointing to an affirmation of Christ. A considerable echo
made him hard to understand, but the sermon was shown on slides.
highlight: truth is not subjective, you can’t create your own; we are called to
be enslaved to Christ; and the conclusion if you are saved, lived like you mean
have a neighbor for whom I have felt called to lay hands on for healing prayer,
but I have a sense he is not a believer from his lack of response to some of my
Christ talk. This is the third week in a row where the sermon has called us to
not just talk the talk but to walk the walk. I am slow, but now know how God
wants me to offer Christ Jesus’ healing of heart and soul.
we were feeling our age so we were especially grateful for the “Visitor”
our first step inside we were offered a bulletin, and upon our second step we
were asked if we were visitors. Since the service was just beginning when we
arrived, we hoped to find the restrooms quickly and get into the sanctuary, but
we encountered a visitor greeter who took his job very seriously.
entered the sanctuary during the announcements, and then witnessed a moment of
appreciation and sending for the first youth pastor of this church and his wife
as they prepared to leave for mission work in Spain.
large sanctuary was filled almost to capacity. The areas of the campus that we
saw were meticulously decorated and cared for.
praise band consisted of drums, a piano, three guitars, and one male singer and
one female singer, and their sound was unexpectedly perfect together.
pastor is on vacation, and the guest preacher was Dr. Cherian John, a
cardiologist in the tri-state area. His message (to be concluded next week) was
entitled “Who Do You Say That I Am?” and was full of many more Scripture
references and much, much more information than I could hope to recount.
couple of the many “bottom line” ideas were that the truth is true even if you
choose not to believe it, if you are saved then you should live like you mean
it, and that the fine print includes the assurance that believers will
encounter persecution. The message was deep, Scripture was constant, and
history was strongly emphasized.
week’s message will compare Christian faith with the beliefs of other religions
and, based on this message, I expect it will be educational.
prayer for this church: Lord,
we pray this church hears Your call to walk and talk for You. May they take
Your witness to all they meet, encouraging others to bring their questions and
find that You are the answer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
worshiped at Victory Family Church, 21150 Route 19, Cranberry Twp., PA 16066,
John and Michelle Nuzzo, Senior Pastors.
– Galatians 5:16-23
I say, live by the Sprit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful
nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the
Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each
other, so that you do not do what you want.
if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and
debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage,
selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the
like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not
inherit the kingdom of God.
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
we got to visit a church that has been on our list for a while. We were greeted
by people who held the door open for us but we were ignored otherwise, even
during the obligatory greeting.
had my earplugs with me so was be to stay for the music. I was seated through
most of the service with a granddaughter so I don’t know how many were on stage
but it did seem like smoke effects with the dust particles caught in the
spotlight beams. I was disappointed not to find a cross. Our large party was too
late to claim seats together but the ushers/security people tried to accommodate
is an impressive nursery/child care area that included a room for special needs
first the message seemed to be a monologue on raising children, but it turned
out to segue to the sermon that, for me, came down to the promise that we can
be used for God. We all lament not being good enough or ready to evangelize,
but what if our efforts that we judge as being feeble turn out to be the only
chance for someone to claim Christ?
was an altar call for any who wished to accept Christ and a number of people raised
the service I stopped at the information desk and was given a floor plan that
would have been nice to have when we first stopped there. There is a large
floor plan on the wall, but it is behind a sales desk.
we thought the building was large last week, this one was huge. We only got to
tour a small part of it, but we were given a brochure with a color-coded floor
plan, and we would not have had time to tour the entire campus. I looked around
the gift shop, and we walked the hallway with all the children’s rooms. They
were probably the most imaginative, varied, colorful, nicely appointed rooms
for children I’ve seen anywhere. The sign for one room indicated it was
specifically for those with special needs.
few people smiled at us and one person spoke with our son, but otherwise we
were on our own. During the service when the congregation was instructed to
greet someone nearby, we were not approached.
usually quite alright without a bulletin, but I do wish I knew the name of one
of the songs that opened worship. I loved the words and would appreciate being
able to find it on iTunes. Displaying the words on the screens was helpful. The
music had plenty of volume and sounded professional.
guest preacher was an evangelist named David Faulk. I missed hearing exactly
who he is, but I do know he is on the younger side, passionate, and had a
couple of amazing life stories to tell…and I was spellbound on the edge of my
seat. His message was called “Walking God’s Pathway,” and he made some great
asked if everyone went to their significant other and offered to spend 1 hour
and 15 minutes with them per week, would that be acceptable to maintain the
relationship? He then asked what makes us think that it’s enough to sustain our
relationship with God.
have never heard that the Bible, in addition to being the bestselling book of
all time, is also the most shoplifted book. Rather ironic, but believable…many
odd that for the second week in a row in distinctly different churches in separate
states we heard the quote from The Matrix
about the difference between knowing and doing.
stories were illustrations from his and his father’s lives about the seeds that
are planted, about how “the pursuit of happiness without holiness leads to
emptiness,” and “letting God write your story.” He was open and vulnerable, which
is probably why his stories will stay with me. They also give me hope that God
does indeed have a plan and a purpose, for even my life. Hallelujah!
prayer for this church: Dear
Father, we pray this church continues to reach out to those who don’t know yet
that they need Christ. We ask that You nourish this church and help them
continue to grow. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
we worshiped at Vienna Presbyterian Church, 124 Park Street, NE, Vienna, VA
22180, 703.938.9050, www.viennapres.org,
Rev. Dr. Peter G. James, Senior Pastor.
A note from us: God’s
gracious presence has certainly been felt, but the craziness this week has
ranged from our daughter’s procedure in Virginia on Monday to my modified work
hours due to our office move, and family living with us temporarily. We hope to
be back to our prompt publishing schedule tomorrow.
– Colossians 3:1-14:
then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where
Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not
on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in
Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual
immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because
of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the
life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as
these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not
lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image
of its Creator.
there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian,
slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with whatever
grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect
is a larger complex and we only saw a little of it, but it is very impressive.
The sanctuary is colorful only in different shades of white. I made note that
the only cross I could find was on the parament of the pulpit, then realized
that from where we were sitting the balcony projected out far enough that I
couldn’t see the huge wooden cross suspended from the ceiling.
were greeted and welcomed and when two of the pastors heard that the reason we
were in the area was our daughter’s health issue, they both were quick to offer
prayers for her.
enjoyed the praise singers: I could hear and understand them and they harmonized
it might be nice if they could project a video of the children’s sermon on the
screen so everyone could see them.
pastor had a good speaking voice and developed his sermon well. The message was
from a sermon series “The Life You’ve Always Wanted.” Some highlights: put sin
to death or it will kill you. Figure out what is killing your soul and kill it.
When we are intentional in breaking from these sinful ways, then be intentional
reminded of something from Max Lucado where he talks of DTP – Disruptive Thought
Patterns. He referred to them as viruses: guilt, shame, bitterness, greed, etc.,
of which we need to purge ourselves.
cannot sit placidly just enjoying Christ. We need to walk the walk.
was impressed with the large prayer list for Military and Civilians Serving in
was so refreshing to hear the elements offered verbally when served Communion.
was good to reconnect with a former Pittsburgh pastor, Stan Ott, who is a
teaching pastor there.
were in Virginia last weekend to support our daughter as she faced a health
issue. I am glad to report that her procedure went perfectly and she is fine.
Since we were there we worshiped at this church which, even at a distance, has
meant a great deal to me.
than a year ago I read an article online about the faithful way this church
handled the disturbing issue of sexual abuse. As an abuse survivor, their
faithfulness gave me hope and, I believe, sets an example for any institution
that is preyed upon like this. Ever since, I have wanted to visit to meet these
people who cared enough to find the courage to do the right thing.
facility is beautiful, exquisitely decorated and maintained. With three
services, I was surprised to be asked if we were visitors. There was visitor
parking and a welcome center. Unfortunately we did not have time to check out
the book store.
different times in our visit we spoke with the two pastors present, and each
immediately offered prayer for our daughter.
bulletin consists of two 11x17 sheets folded and stapled, a full page of categorized
prayer requests, announcements, and innumerable spiritual growth and service opportunities.
I was impressed by the gracious wording in some of the comments and
signage was both helpful and necessary.
Children’s Message was truly aimed at the children, who were permitted to
participate, and this adult enjoyed it as well.
offertory music was new to me, so I appreciated seeing the words on the screen.
sermon, “Putting on Christ,” was part of a series entitled and based on the
book “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” by John Ortberg. He began with a terrific
story about a boy who holds a record – he wore a Brett Favre jersey every
single day for 1,981 consecutive days between 2003 and 2008.
went on to talk about “wearing Christ” and killing sin in our lives, quoting the
puritan John Owen, that you “had better be killing sin or it will be killing
you.” He confirmed the truth of the old story that says the side of us we feed
is the side that wins. His advice is to be intentional in working to order
every facet of our life after Christ, stay in the Word, and pray. We know what
we need to do, but there’s a difference between knowing and doing.
could not help but be reminded of the quote from General Norman Schwarzkopf: “The
truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard
part is doing it.” For me, I have found the hard part is believing it and then
acting on that belief. I can read and pray, but unless I allow God’s Word to sink
into my heart and affect my actions, I’m still living in the sin of unbelief.
worship we were truly blessed by an opportunity to catch up with one of the
pastors here whom we had known from Pittsburgh Presbytery.
prayer for this church: Father,
We pray that this congregation truly does take up the cause and fight to put sin
to death. We pray for Your strength and guidance. Please envelope them in Your
Spirit and be glorified in their trials. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.